A Taste of Sacramento
“They do pretty nice things in Sacramento, and Horace told how they did things in Sacramento as they rode along.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Last month I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference, IFBC, in Sacramento. It was my first food blogging conference. Gerlinde, of Sunny Cove Chef, and I traveled and roomed together. It was a whirlwind four days of non-stop activity. The experience was rewarding and I recommend attending next year’s conference in Sacramento.
One of my favorite parts of the conference was the pre-conference excursion to California Endive and Stillwater Orchards. The bus trip through the Sacramento Delta was fascinating. Islands with draw-bridges and ghost towns with buried California history demand another trip to this area of California. We visited Stillwater Orchard during Bartlett and Bosc pear harvest. Trees filled with ripe fruit are magical to me. I always thought pear season was in fall, but in California the harvest begins in July. We enjoyed lunch in the shade of an ancient tree near the orchard. Our luncheon ended with individual servings of pear crisp. Since returning home I have been obsessed with making my own version with pears and ginger. I made the Double Ginger Pear Crisp with the Bartlett pears that were shared with us during our visit to the orchard.
This recipe is more fruit than crisp, which is the best kind of fruit dessert. I stopped taking photos to eat an entire crisp while it was still warm from the oven. The aroma of pears, ginger, toasted oatmeal and brown sugar overwhelmed all my self-control. I easily succumb to my dessert fantasies. Oatmeal in the crisp offers a contrast to the melt in your mouth pears. Pears and ginger are a favorite flavor pairing but the ginger in the crisp can be replaced with the seeds of a juicy vanilla bean folded into the pear filling. Pears are unique in that they continue to ripen after harvest. The ripeness is determined at the very smallest part of the fruit— by the stem. When a pear is ripe this is the part of the fruit that softens. Waiting for the entire fruit to become soft leads to a mushy pear.
|Double Ginger Crisp|
|1/3C + 1T||white, whole wheat flour|
|3T||organic cane sugar|
|3T||finely minced candied ginger|
|1/2t||fine grain sea salt|
|5T||unsalted butter, chilled and cubed|
|7C/3 lbs||Bartlett pears|
|3T||organic cane sugar|
- Heat the oven to 350°. Butter individual ramekins or other oven safe baking pans. I used four enamel coated, cast iron pans, each holding approximately 1-1/2C of the pear mixture. An 8”x8” baking pan can also be used. Adjust baking time, depending on the size of the pan(s) used.
- In a medium sized bowl add the oats, flour, both sugars, both gingers, nutmeg and salt. Mix the ingredients together and then add the butter. Work the butter into the dry ingredients. Dip down to the bottom of the bowl to include all the flour. Massage the ingredients together until the butter is mostly the size of large peas and the mixture begins to clump together.
- In another medium sized bowl add the pears, lemon zest and juice, sugar and cornstarch. Fold the ingredients together until the cornstarch is no longer visible. Divide the pears evenly among the baking pans. Top the pears with the crisp topping, dividing evenly among all the pans. Place the individual crisps on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes. When done the pear juices will bubble up around the topping and the crisp will be golden brown.
Bloggers who attended IFBC were offered a discounted conference rate in exchange for blogging about the event. All opinions, photography and the recipe are my own.
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